September 13, By Tara Law
Queens Community Board 1, which represents Astoria and parts of Long Island City, elected a new chairperson last night—the first woman to hold the position.
Marie Torniali, who has lived and worked in Astoria for decades, got the votes needed to get the top job after competing with two other board members for the position. Torniali beat Norma Nieves-Blas, the board’s first vice chairperson, and Daniel Aliberti, the chair of the access and disability committee.
“I’ve been a 40-year resident of Astoria and I love this neighborhood,” Torniali said prior to the vote. “I have been the executive director of the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition for the past 30 years and would like to use everything I have learned in that capacity as chair of CB1 that does such great work.”
The position became vacant when the former chairperson, Joseph Risi, resigned after being appointed by the governor as a judge to the Court of Claims. Risi had been chairperson since Oct. 2015.
For decades, Torniali has been a prominent player in the neighborhood as the executive director of the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition.
She helped create the Business Improvement District on Steinway Street, and became its executive director after its 1991 inception.
Torniali was born in France but moved to the United States as a child.
Last year, Community Board 2 elected its first female chairperson when Denise Keehan-Smith was voted in.